Top 7.5 Signs that Your CIO IS READY for the New Normal

 

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My colleague, Trisha Winter, in her last blog picked on CIOs who are NOT READY for the New Normal.  That harshes my mellow, so I’m going to talk about Super-CIO capabilities that show readiness for the tranformative world of the IT executive.

If you remember, the New Normal is the reality that technology has become so pervasive that it is becoming a company’s primary way to engage with their customers.  And in order to support this, every company must think of themselves as a technology company first, their main product or service is secondary.

This New Normal is unavoidable so companies need to make sure that they are setting themselves up to succeed.  This means starting with IT and the CIO.  If you are a CEO and your CIO matches these signs, it is probably time for a promotion and raise, not for you but for your CIO.

  1. Your CIO understands your business and collaborates well with line of business (LoB) peers.Technical leadership requires a bit of salesmanship and showmanship, so your CIO should brush up on her/his speaking skills, or go to open-mic night at the local comedy club.  Hey, if Dick Costolo of Twitter can do it, so can every technology leader!  Best of all, your CIO must understand your business from the inside-out.  So, look for that interest and enthusiasm.
  2. Your CIO understands all technologies in use by the company.Your CIO not only understands the latest technologies, but understands the applicability of these technologies to your business and is able to articulate the value to you and the LoBs.  The IT ecosystem and culture means fostering an environment where disruptive things like BYOD, IT in Marketing, etc. all work together.
  3. Your CIO understands what your customers experience when they engage with technologies that they use to do business with you.Tech performance is MOST meaningful in the experience that your customers have when they’re directly doing business with you.  Your technical leaders and staff must be appraised on technology customer-experience and be tightly aligned with customer-facing employees.
  4. Your CIO measures all ‘moving parts’ of your technology investments and understands the value and practicality of all components.As the saying goes “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”, an application, no matter how well it is developed, has at least one constraint that limits its performance. This is the basic Theory of Constraints, and great CIOs understand that application performance improvement is a complex, constant activity.
  5. Your CIO measures technology investments and technology performance against P&L.It’s a lofty goal to tranform IT from a cost-center into a profit-center, and ‘New Normal” CIOs will at least understand their value related to the performance of the company and will constantly work towards improving both the bottom and top lines of the company
  6. Your CIO understands big-data.  New Normal CIOs can articulate how big-data Volume, Variety, and Velocity can affect your company, and has added the fourth ‘V’alue benefit to the discussion.  ”Big Data” is an overused term, and some technology companies are trying to equate it to ‘just another buzz word’, BUT, the technology itself can and should be transformational into insight into sales success and customer retention.  Your CIO should be well-versed in discussing how real-time analytics can help your company.  If they have a problem describing the value, have them call me and I’ll teach them a card-trick on how to illustrate the value of big-data.  More on this in a future TechTalk
  7. Your CIO has implemented DevOps ‘best-practices’ and has created new ‘better-practices’ that differentiate your company from your competition.To me the word that best describes good DevOps processes is cadence.   Developing and deploying apps on a cadence fosters communication, collaboration, discipline, agility and leanness to your Development and Operations activities.  My favorite acronym is FUD = Focus, Urgency and Discipline.  Your DevOps teams should look at your competitors and figure out ways to expose their technology weakness and exploit your strengths in the marketplace.

7.5 BONUS! Your CIO has afternoon “thought-experiments” with his cat.
P-Cz


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About Paul Czarnik
Paul is the CTO of Compuware where he provides technology strategy and investment leadership. A venture-technologist and programmer at heart, his hands-on experience and technical diligence model help with M&A activities and incubator/startups. Contact him at @PaulCzrnk to chat about IT Transformation (even though he hates that word), agile delivery, lean startup methodologies or music.

Paul serves on the boards of, iRule, the Motown Museum and the Admission/Retention Committee for Wayne State University.

Big Data? Let’s talk about LITTLE data!

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OK, I’m going to stay on tech here, away from the politics of big-data, because you can draw your own conclusions.  By now EVERYBODY has heard about ‘big data’, the information companies gather and what the government requires they acquire.  I personally have been involved in ‘lawful intercept’ projects and understand the technologies and laws that govern access. The fact is that ‘you’re opted in’, whether you like it or not, so when you think about what’s possible, you have to think of unlimited instrumentation, unlimited storage and unlimited computing power.  Everything is easily captured and quickly stored, ready to map(reduce) and query.  I’m not talking about batch analytics against a data-warehouse.  I’m talking about REALTIME analytics against realtime data. SO WHAT? Let’s talk about some use-cases that we can all easily understand.  Let’s instrument every vital sign occurring with the physiology of our bodies.  Everything event, every mood, every anomaly, every failure, every improvement.  Let’s map that against health models developed for our personal demographic and across geographies and populations.  I think we all understand that the benefits far outweigh the risks or politics and the technology exists to do this.  And even though it’s BIG DATA, it’s really the LITTLE DATA  that has the greatest benefit.  Did I eat a healthy meal or did it spike my blood-sugars.  Did my exercise improve my blood pressure or did I have a sudden unhealthy rise.  Does a cancerous cell that turned up in a fellow human have anything to do with my future risk for the same cancer, and can it be circumvented with preventative treatment?  Does the PERFORMANCE of my peers indicate PERFORMANCE for me and my descendants?  And, again, I’m talking about realtime-actionable information and predictive-long-term health benefits. HOW ABOUT YOU?  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO CIO’S? Since everything is possible and the use-cases limitless, it’s up to YOU as a TECHNOLOGIST to figure out what that means in your job.  How does data and fast access allow your company to find and retain customers?  Of course it depends on your industry so if you truly understand your target-customer and their compelling-reason-to-buy, what you need to understand about them should be quite obvious to you.   Assuming you figured out what data you need and how you acquire it, the trick is not to deluge your business peers with massive data-analytics, but to provideACTIONABLE analytics that your company can use to to improve and grow the business.  Think of it as a continuous process, based on your knowledge of your customer and the data they individually provide you and the collective intelligence that they communally provide you. So, when your CEO asks you what you’re doing about BIG DATA, you say “It’s the LITTLE DATAthat I’m interested in”.  And after she corrects your bad grammar, you can explain that while BIG DATA focuses on Volume, Variety and Velocity, LITTLE DATA focuses on VALUE. P-Cz About Paul Czarnik Paul is the CTO of Compuware where he provides technology strategy and investment leadership. A venture-technologist and programmer at heart, his hands-on experience and technical diligence model help with M&A activities and incubator/startups. Contact him at @PaulCzrnk to chat about IT Transformation (even though he hates that word), agile delivery, lean startup methodologies or music. Paul serves on the boards of, iRule, the Motown Museum and the Admission/Retention Committee for Wayne State University.